Saturday, March 5, 2011

Learning to Adapt Recipes of your Own

Learning to adapt recipes of your own:


-Attitude boost: as you practice adapting recipes of your own, you see more clearly the poosibilities you have- all the things you can create and eat!

When I first tried to bake without wheat, dairy, eggs, or nuts, I felt very restricted, bound, and easily frustrated. Even many allergy-friendly recipe books I checked out from the library still used ingredients my daughter couldn't have. Learning the concepts behind ingredients and alternate substitution rule-of-thumbs freed me considerably. I became passionate at learning how to adapt the recipes I already had- many of my mother's sister's, Better Homes and Gardens, etc. To look at a recipe book loaded with allergens and say with my daughter-hey, we can make that! a rewarding and freeing feeling.

-Self-reliance: do you want to be tied to baking only with highly specialized cookbooks in front of you? Or with having to look online for specialized recipes every time you want to bake or cook? Do you want to be restricted to using only particular specialized ingredients, or have flexibility for using whatever basics you have on hand?

-Life-time learning opportunity: We feel good and are more richly blessed when we are life-time learners. What an opportunity it is to learn to adapt recipes to fit your needs!

Helpful tips for adapting recipes:

-Do not expect perfection

Maybe your muffins aren’t as fluffy as you’d like. But they have a nice flavor and texture. Isn’t that great you can make your muffins so differently than the norm and have them turn out yummy? You can experiment to try to make them fluffier. But meanwhile, enjoy what you have!
-Learn basic concepts of how ingredients work together, and learn substitution possibilities.

-Be willing to experiment

Small batches may be desirable while experimenting

Notebook. Keep a plain college-ruled spiral notebook in your cupboard or somewhere handy, with a pen. After baking with a recipe you’ve altered, record the recipe and how you change it. Rate results. I use √-, √ +, and √++. If desired,write a couple details of what you liked: flavor-wise, texture-wise, etc. Jot down what you may do differently next time(if desired). At times I have tried a recipe three different ways, in small batches, and compared results.

-Turn “flops” into successes

I used to be quite stressed and fearful about changing a recipe on my own. One reason is because I was afraid of failure. Something that eased this fear considerably was my effort to turn “flops” into successes. Most of the things that haven’t worked out so well I’ve found an alternate use for. For example: a rice-flour based pancake batter stuck to my waffle iron and came off in crumbles. I whirred it in a food processor and made fine crumbs for chicken tenders. (stored this in the freezer until I was ready to use it). Another example: I made some bread that had much stronger of a flavor than I liked. I tore it into crumbs and made meatloaf. It was actually really good meatloaf!

If something doesn’t turn out satisfactory, challenge yourself to find another use for it. This feels rewarding when you find a good use for something you first thought had failed. And then you don’t waste! : )


Hasina said...

Hi Homebaker

I feel like I have just stumbled on a gold mine! My daughter has lots of allergies and I struggle to make things for her. I am looking forward to try out some of the recipes on your site. Thank you so much!

homebaker said...

Thank you for your appreciative words! Feel free to ask questions or comment on particular recipes and concepts! Any questions or comments you make go right to my e-mail so I will usually be able to reply within a day or so.

Best wishes on your journey!

EarthMama said...

I read this but forgot to comment after I got to thinking about the potatoes! This is a great post and something I am definitely working on. I don't want to have to use a "gluten-free cookbook" everytime I want to make something. I have some old, favorite recipes that I would love to convert. I am also big on not wasting and cringe when I read of people throwing things straight in the garbage. I always use bread that doesn't turn out as bread crumbs, muffins that weren't quite right become a pie crust, and so on. Worse case scenario, I feed it to my chickens and think about what healthy eggs they are going to make me! As a fellow mama/blogger, I know how time consuming this is so thanks for taking the time to share what you are learning.